Crime

Former BPS school dean who shot student pleads guilty to racketeering

Shaun Harrison was a member of the Latin Kings, and recruited many students into the gang.

Pat Greenhouse
Shaun Harrison pleaded guilty to racketeering charges on Tuesday. Pat Greenhouse

A former Boston Public Schools academic dean who led a double life as a member of the Latin Kings gang and shot a student pleaded guilty to racketeering charges Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts announced.

Shaun “Rev” Harrison, 63, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy, in federal court.

The Latin Kings are a violent criminal enterprise comprised of thousands of members across the country, according to the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts. The gang traffics drugs for money and engages in violence against witnesses and rival gangs to further its influence and protect its turf.

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In December 2019, a federal grand jury returned an indictment alleging racketeering conspiracy, drug conspiracy, and firearms charges against dozens of leaders, members, and associates of the Latin Kings, including Harrison.

In 2015, the U.S. Attorney said, Harrison was hired by BPS as an academic dean at English High School. In that role, Harrison was to act as a mediator between teachers and students, contact families when students struggled, work with at-risk students, and run an anger management program for 10 boys after school.

While working at BPS, Harrison was a member of the Latin Kings, and used his position as academic dean to recruit many at-risk students into the gang, the U.S. Attorney said. He then told the recruited students to sell marijuana and other drugs he provided them at the high school and collected the money.

In March 2015, Harrison came to believe that one of the students selling drugs for him had stolen money from him, no longer wished to sell drugs, and might tell the police about his crimes.

On March 3, 2015, Harrison met with this student at a Mcdonald’s. While walking behind the student, Harrison pulled out a handgun and shot the student in the back of the head at point blank range, the U.S. Attorney said.

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The shooting was captured on video by a surveillance camera in the area, and the student survived. Harrison was ordered to pay $10 million in damages to the student on Friday.

The student told police about Harrison, his recruitment of students into the Latin Kings, and the sale of drugs at BPS, the U.S. Attorney said. Harrison was arrested soon after and charged in Suffolk Superior Court with crimes related to the attempted murder.

In 2018, Harrison was convicted by a jury and sentenced to approximately 25 years in state prison for the murder.

“Mr. Harrison stole the youth and innocence from impressionable minors, exploiting his position of trust to corrupt and coerce vulnerable and at-risk children into a world of criminal activity,” U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins said in a news release.

While in state prison post-conviction, Harrison continued to communicate with Latin Kings members through jail calls to other co-defendants, the U.S. Attorney said. These communications included discussions about the identities of confidential informants in Harrison’s case and other efforts to identify those who contributed to his conviction.

The Latin Kings supported Harrison during his state prison sentence, discussed Harrison’s loyalty to the Latin Kings and refusal to implicate others, and put money into his jail accounts, the U.S. Attorney said.

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Under the terms of his plea agreement, Harrison faces a sentence of approximately 18 years in prison. U.S. Senior District Court Judge Rya Zobel scheduled sentencing for Nov. 15, 2022.

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“For years, the Latin Kings terrorized our communities and targeted youth to join their violent criminal enterprise. No more,” Rollins said in the news release.

“Thanks to the exceptional collaboration between our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, this dangerous organization has been dismantled. Today’s conviction of Mr. Harrison brings an end to the Latin Kings’ reign.”

So far, the U.S. Attorney said, 60 people have been prosecuted in connection with the Latin Kings.

“We remain diligent in our quest to find the two remaining defendants that fled and have active warrants. They can run, but they can’t hide. We will not stop until we find them,” she said.

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